In 1954, Senator Lyndon B. Johnson was running for re-election.
In a tradition that dates back to the founding of our country, certain pastors were speaking out about LBJ’s unethical behavior and they endorsed LBJ’s opponent. The pastors had every right to do so…the first amendment protects their free speech:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Got that? Congress shall make no law prohibiting the free exercise of religion; or abridging the freedom of speech…
Constitution? LBJ didn’t care about no stinkin’ Constitution! He pushed a little-known amendment (passed by voice vote) to an IRS bill that became the law that barred tax-exempt groups – including churches – from participating in political activity. The penalty: loss of tax-exempt status.
The new power given to the IRS not only stifles the First Amendment rights of pastors and churches, but the IRS has been selective and biased in its enforcement.
Barry Soetoro (a.k.a. “Barack Hussein Obama II” if you believe his photoshopped Certificate of Live Birth) and Hillary Clinton can speak from a church pulpit with immunity, but if Mike Huckabee, an ordained pastor, were to speak from a church pulpit while running for office, the IRS would likely try to take away that church’s tax exempt status.
LBJ’s amendment was and is a violation of the first amendment. It is completely unconstitutional, and needs to be done away with. My preferred way to see that happen is to do away with the IRS altogether…it’s time to go with the Fair Tax.
Update: Related links…
The Pulpit Initiative
Reclaiming pastors’ constitutional right to speak Truth from the pulpit